Love: exciting and new.
Come aboard. We’re expecting youuuuu…It’s Narniaaaa!
OK, I’m done with The Love Boat comparisons. (Or am I? Let’s just it flow and see if it floats back to you.)
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is the third installment of The Chronicles of Narnia series based on the classic novels of C.S. Lewis, following The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian. It’s been several years since anything happened with this series, but I heard the script has been completed for The Silver Chair, which means the Narnia voyage soon will be making another run.
Walden Media is the studio behind this series, and they had been partnering with Walt Disney Pictures until this installment. Filming for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader started while Prince Caspian was still in production, but after that one was released and didn’t make as much money as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Disney dropped out and Walden set a course for adventure with 20th Century Fox.
This film still didn’t hit the same level as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but it was still successful and became 20th Century Fox’s highest-grossing film that year. You can tell it’s not quite as polished as the first two, but it’s still a good flick and has been known to bring an open smile on a friendly shore.
OH, SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Alright, alright, I’m done.
Unlike the slightly watered down Prince Caspian, which tried to promise something for everyone (OK, now I’m really REALLY done), The Voyage of the Dawn Treader isn’t timid about the message of Christ that is central to this narrative.
Aslan: In your world, I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.
And unlike both its predecessors, this movie doesn’t have one central villain, but rather features the variety of demons that each individual character must defeat internally.
Coriakin: To defeat the darkness out there, you must defeat the darkness inside yourself.
Overcoming the temptations that plague us is easier said than done. We are imperfect creatures. When we do stumble, though, remember what Aslan told Lucy after she lapsed into the unhealthy mentality of comparing herself with her pretty sister:
Lucy: I’m so sorry.
Aslan: You doubt your value. Don’t run from who you are.
We are not a race of hapless humans prone who live and die on this earth without history or purpose. We are children of God and we lived with heavenly parents before we came here. This voyage eastward to “Aslan’s country” is not about sailing to the edge of the world, but about our lifelong journey back to the presence of God.
Lucy: Do you really believe there is such a place?
Reepicheep: Well, we have nothing if not belief…I can only hope I will one day earn the right to see it.
But this journey to perfection is not something we can actually “earn” by a sum total of righteous deeds. Yes, we must make our very, very best effort through our own faith and repentance, but we can’t reach this destination by ourselves. Eustace learned this important lesson after his greed transformed him into a hideous creature and he realized he couldn’t scrape off his hideous scales.
Edmund: So what was it like…when Aslan changed you back?
Eustace: No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t do it by myself. Then He came towards me. It sort of hurt, but it was a good pain. You know, like when you pull a thorn from your foot.
I found it interesting that while Eustace and others were able to rely on Aslan’s help during the voyage, none could actually enter His world without first passing through a gate of water.
Aslan: You have come far, but now your journey lies beyond.
As we have faith in Jesus Christ, repent, immerse ourselves in the covenantal waters of baptism, and follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost—improving to the very end—our Savior will heal us and welcome us back to His presence. As Caspian declared to his crew just moments before they all faced their darkest demons:
Now is the time to be strong. Never give in.
“And now, my beloved brethren, seeing that our merciful God has given us so great knowledge concerning these things, let us remember him, and lay aside our sins, and not hang down our heads, for we are not cast off…we have been led to a better land, for the Lord has made the sea our path.” — 2 Nephi 10:20